Feb. 9 (UPI) — An Iranian rocket launch failed to place a satellite into orbit Sunday, state television reported.
Iranian Defense Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hosseini said the county was able to launch a Simorgh rocket at 7:15 p.m. at Imam Khomeini Spaceport in the Semnan Province but the rocket could not place a Zafar 1 communications satellite into orbit due to low speed, according to state-run Irib News Agency.
“Stage-1 and stage-2 motors of the carrier functioned properly and the satellite was successfully detached from its carrier, but at the end of its path it did not reach the required speed for being put in the orbit,” Hosseini said.
Iran’s Information and Communications Technology Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi compared the failed launch to “a few samples of U.S. launch failures” in a tweet on Sunday.
“But we’re UNSTOPPABLE,” he added. “We have more upcoming great Iranian Sattlelites.”
Iran’s first satellite was launched in 2009 and there have been others since then, usually in February during the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Sunday’s effort marked the fourth consecutive failure of an Iranian satellite launch most recently preceded by a launch on Jan. 15, 2019, in which the rocket launch successfully passed the first and second stages but malfunctioned on the third stage.
International leaders have expressed concern over Iran’s satellite program with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling the January 2019 launch the “first stage of an intercontinental missile” that violates international agreements.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also condemned the launch at the time.
“In defiance of the international community & UNSCR 2231, Iran’s regime fired off a space launch vehicle today. The launch yet again shows that Iran is pursuing enhanced missile capabilities that threaten Europe and the Middle East,” said Pompeo.